The European country of Belgium has officially apologized for the kidnapping, segregation, deportation and forced adoption of thousands of children born during its colonial rule of Burundi, Congo, and Rwanda.
This is the first time that Belgium has apologized to the continent after colonizing Central Africa for 80 years.
Prime Minister Charles Michel told Parliament:
“Throughout Belgian colonial Africa, a system of targeted segregation of métis and their families was maintained by the Belgian state, and acts were committed that violated the fundamental rights of peoples,” he said. The term 'métis' is used to describe biracial children in Belgium.
“This is why, in the name of the federal government, I recognize the targeted segregation of which métis people were victims” under Belgian colonial rule in Africa, and “the ensuing policy of forced kidnapping” after independence, he added per the New York Times.
“In the name of the federal government,” Michel continued, “I present our apologies to the métis stemming from the Belgian colonial era and to their families for the injustices and the suffering inflicted upon them. I also wish to express our compassion for the African mothers, from whom the children were taken,” he said.
Despite many applauding Michel for his historic apology, J.C. Karerwa Ndenzako, a spokesperson for the Burundian president, is not bowled over.
"Excellency Prime Minister @CharlesMichel, Apologizing over children snatched from their African mothers is not enough. The vileness of these acts is part and parcel of a far broader history. #Belgium should dialogue with #Burundi, #Rwanda & #DRC," he tweeted.
Belgium vows to work hard to try and right some of history's wrongs.